Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old accused of shooting and killing two people during Tuesday’s protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was seen in the front row of a Donald Trump campaign rally in January.
As Buzzfeed News reported, the teen accused of opening fire during protests in the Wisconsin city was seated just feet from the president at the January 30 rally in Des Moines, Iowa. He also posted a video of the event to TikTok, the report noted.
Rittenhouse’s social media presence reportedly showed strong support for Trump and members of law enforcement, including support of the “Blue Lives Matter” movement that critics say is a reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. The teenager was also a former member of the Lindenhurst, Grayslake, Hainesville Police Department’s Public Safety Cadet Program, the report noted. On a Facebook page that was later deleted, the teen was also seen posing with an AR-15–style weapon.
As The Inquisitr reported, Rittenhouse told an interviewer broadcasting live video from the Kenosha protests that he was part of a “militia” there to protect lives and property. The teen said he was willing to run into harm’s way if someone was hurt or needed to be protected.
Video from the demonstrations showed a person identified as Rittenhouse opening fire during a scuffle outside a boarded-up building, then shooting at protesters as he ran from the scene of the first shooting before being taken to the ground.
The Trump campaign responded to the report of Rittenhouse’s appearance at the rally, distancing themselves from his alleged actions and commending law enforcement for his swift arrest.
“President Trump has repeatedly and consistently condemned all forms of violence and believes we must protect all Americans from chaos and lawlessness,” said Trump 2020 campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh. “This individual had nothing to do with our campaign and we fully support our fantastic law enforcement for their swift action in this case.”
Despite the condemnation from Trump’s team, many of his critics pointed fingers at what they saw as incendiary comments and the promotion of violent action against protesters. Tommy Vietor, political commentator and former spokesperson for President Barack Obama and the National Security Council, noted that a couple who pointed guns at protesters were featured this week in the Republican National Convention.
“GOP blocks all gun control laws. The McCloskeys point guns at peaceful protestors and get invited to speak at the RNC. Trump superfan Kyle Rittenhouse murders protestors with his AR-15,” he tweeted.